Monday, November 30, 2009

Last Day of NaNo 2009

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday this year. I can't remember the last time we had such a peaceful, no-stress holiday. It was fantastic!

We went to my parent's house for dinner, visited for a while, then came home to chill around the house. Oldest stayed the night over at his Grams, and Hubster and Mini did their own thing while I worked on my NaNo story.

On Saturday, Hubster took Mini to the art show in town and realized they had a stand there for alligator on a stick. Lemme just say, alligator is yum. Hubster bought two skewered alligator nibblet things and brought them home to me while they were still hot. What a man! He wins so many brownie points for that, there is no category.

So, I ate alligator kebabs (Mini helped), and working some more on the NaNo story. That evening, they went to the Christmas parade. Mini came back with pockets full of candy, mardi gras beads, and a panda plushie. That's quite a haul for one little guy.

Yesterday, we left early in the morning to take Mini to my godfather's office. He got his first official checkup from the dentist. He was super scared, so I sat in the dental chair and pulled him into my lap. My godfather checked his teeth - which are perfect, no cavities - and did a flouride rinse on him. Once that was over, Mini was shocked. "That didn't hurt at all."

After the visit with my godfather, we went to Ryan's for lunch. First thing it the door, Mini says, "I want chocolate chip cookies!" Yeah, so that mussed everything accomplished at the dentist office, but what're you gonna do? ;0)

That afternoon, once we'd returned home, I set out to blast the doors off my NaNo project. I'd parked it the day before at 47k. I broke out the big guns: Diet A&W cream soda, parked my laptop in the bed room, and set to work. About an hour and a half later, I had 50k. I could have peed, I was so happy. I went instantly and put in my 50k over at www.nanowrimo.org

So for the first time ever, I win at NaNo. Wheee!



As a reward for my efforts, I folded two loads of laundry, and sacked up garbage to haul off to the "kitty farm". Good days, good days.... For the next 3 months I get the pleasure of pulling my hair out while choppin' and blockin' this fantasy romance novel into something presentable. It's going to be my pitch piece for the 2010 Written in the Stars Conference.

Speaking of which, I still need to call in and make hotel reservations. Hm...

That's all for now. I hope you have a pleasant Monday. Just think, tomorrow is December 1st!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Fleas for Thanksgiving

funny pictures of cats with captions



Last night I bathed Diva and all five itty bitty puppies, who apparently have monster, heat-seeking radar fleas. One puppy in particular, who we call JT, has apparently stated in puppy language DO NOT WANT when it comes to bath time. He wiggled and squiggled and squawked through the whole thing. Thankfully, puppy yips are full of cute otherwise it might not have been a fun experience.

Anyway, so now the Divadog family is all fluffy clean and without fleas. After they were all snug in a fresh puppy bed, I borrowed their organic flea killing shampoo and hit the showers. Yes. In case you're wondering, I did. I washed my hair with dog shampoo. Embarrassing, yes. On the upside, I'm flea less and have a glossy coat, er, head of hair for Thanksgiving. One more thing to be thankful for. ;0)

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Caught in the Rush




On Friday, hubster took Mini and Oldest to the carnival in town. He drove my Jeep for space reasons, and the guys spent about two hours out there. I used the time to get in my daily word count and with whatever was left over, I played around on Second Life.

The next morning, the hubster went out to move my Jeep across the yard, but it wouldn't start. The battery was dead. When he walked around the Jeep to get the battery charger out of the trunk, he also discovered I had a flat back tire. Gee, see what happens when I let the guys take my Jeep for one night?

Anyway, I figured this was probably as good time as any to tell the man the transmission is going out. There are times I'll be driving along, hit somewhere between 35-45 mph and the Jeep will suddenly lose power and it makes that really high rev sound like you've pressed in the clutch and didn't shift, or missed the gear. The only thing is - my Jeep is an automatic. *_*

To correct the high rev, I usually just let off the gas pedal, and when I feel the down shift (I don't know how else to describe it), I put on the gas again until it catches. Sounds annoying, right? It is.

So the day after Thanksgiving we're going out to browse a couple of used car lots and see what we can bring home on a trade-in. I don't have anything particular in mind as far as vehicles are concerned, so we'll see what happens.

Last night I parked my NaNoWriMo manuscript at just over 39k, leaving me with 6 more days, and 11ooo words to get to 50k. I tell you, this thing is whipping me.... :P I wrote 2k last night, and turned in around midnight. Right about the time I got to bed Mini starts coughing. And coughing.... So, I got up with him, gave him some medicine, and put him on the couch with a pillow and blanket. I sat up with him until about 3:50 at which point I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer.

Hubster said he shook me three times, around 6, trying to wake me up. He had to leave for work, and Mini was awake. So, after some grumbling in my sleep, about what I have no idea, I zombie walked into the living room and flopped on the couch.

I'm so tired right now it's not even funny. I'm anticipating a long couch nap before the kids and I take off to buy groceries - something I must do today since we're out of coffee fixins. *horror*

Whew! Ok, that's all for now. Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Won't Be Doing That Again




I've written 2100 words so far today, which puts my NaNo project over the 32k mark. Whew! There are only 11 days left to write, so I'm trying to make each session count. I've been doing 30 minute writings all day, and it seems to be paying off despite the fact I've got people in and out of the house all day and Oldest is home sick. This year I am determined to win at NaNo. If I do, it will be the first time in no less than four attempts. ~_^

This time of year, I always start taking stock in what I've accomplished, and this go around I'm paying close attention to what has worked for me promotion-wise. So far, I've come to the conclusion that bookmarks and post cards from VistaPrint are worth every penny. They are very reasonably priced, and it is fast and easy to pass out bookcards.

On the other hand, I will be paring down on promotional book sites and social networking. For one thing, I'll be leaving one of the major pay-for-promo sites that I subscribe to. As far as I can tell, it hasn't done much for me. I've been a member there for 2 or 3 years and I don't think they've even reviewed any of my books, for better or worse. I feel like I'm tossing my money in the fire on that one. There are two others I plan to quit as well - it's too time consuming for one, and the other is just a spam fest.

So far, the only social sites I plan to keep are Facebook and Twitter, because of the industry connections. You can learn things over twitter that you won't hear about anywhere else for at least another day. If you are not on Twitter and you're shooting for NY - get thee hiney over there and sign up. Start following industry peeps.

Another change I'll be making in 2010: I will no longer be giving out my own personal ebooks for review. After Moonlight and Shadows came out, I got requests from two review sites wanting copies of the ebook for review. These were sent to me personally, at my Cora Zane email address. After researching each email address and the names of the senders to confirm the people were who they said they were, I sent them the books.

Here it is months later, and there still have been no reviews good or bad from either of those places. I feel like an idiot now for sending them, because I'm fairly certain the books were read, just tossed aside afterward, and never touched again. No review written, and quite possibly, there was never any intention of reviewing them. I won't be doing that again. And for the record, I have saved those emails to reference those people later. If this has happened to you, please email me and just tell me what review site did this to you. You can remain anonymous - I'll certainly not forward your information to anyone - but I'd seriously like to know if any others have had this happen.

That's the end of that. Only one more thing on my mind as far as publishing is concerned. Two words: Harlequin Muck-up. Or does that count as three words?

If you haven't heard the word about Harlequin Horizons, this post is a good place to start. There are also good opinion piece on this over at the Ashley Grayson blog, Dear Author, and Smart Bitches. Read Ann's first, then Google yourself silly.

Hope you've had a good day today. If not, hang in there - tomorrow's another day. A Friday, at that!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Monday Sucked So I Skipped It




I registered for the Written in the Stars conference yesterday, and paid my NOLA chapter dues. So for the moment, everything is taken care of but the hotel for March. On Saturday, I went to the chapter meeting with Jamie, and Winnie Griggs gave a really good workshop on transitions. I took several pages of notes that hopefully I'll get the chance to review some time today.

I only wrote about 500 words yesterday. Boy, that's no where near the 5k I'd hoped to hit, but I feel okay about it though. Mini didn't sleep well the night before, so when he got up I couldn't decide whether to take him on to school or not. I checked his temperature, which was fine, but he has a bad cough, and a stuffy-but-runny nose. He was running through the house full speed so I figured he'd be okay up there. I dressed him, got everything ready to leave, and noticed it was raining.

Now, a stray dog has come up in the neighborhood, one our neighbors have been feeding. She wants to run into our house whenever she sees us hauling in groceries or checking the mail or whatever, and she spends a lot of time in our front yard. The thing is, while she's still puppy-ish and a bit klutzy, she's big.

I told Mini to stay away from her to go straight to the Jeep when we walked out of the house, but the moment he was out the door he shouted "Rosy!" and took off the yard in the opposite direction. He's been totally ignoring us lately when we tell him to do something. But anyway, in 10 seconds flat, Rosy had pounced him. I had just opened the car door for him and look back - there he is, laid out flat in the mud with the dog on top of him.

Lemme just say, the neighbors probably thought sailors had arrived at our house. I was not happy at all. I took Mini inside - he had mud streaked across his face, in his hair, all over his clothes. I redressed him and once again got ready to leave. We were about fifteen minutes behind at that point, I still had to haul out the garbage, and somewhere during that time it started pouring rain.

I put Mini in the car, and it was raining so hard I could barely see the road. It seemed the gods were against me all the way. I pretty much decided then and there Mini could just stay home. We took the trash "to the kitties" - the trash bins where all the stray cats hang out albeit not in the rain, obviously - then came home.

I spent the day reminding Mini to leave Divadog's puppies alone. I tell you, it's not calming to the soul. *_*

This morning, Little Man is definitely going to school. For the sake of Mimi's sanity, he must go run off all that kidlet energy among the other classroom heathens. It's the way nature intended.

My house is a hella mess, so once I'm back I've got to do some cleaning before I can settle in to write. But once I do...I have a mad date with Dr. Wicked's writing lab today. Bet your boots.

Oh! The new Star Trek movie is out of DVD today, so I gotta run by the store and pick up a copy for hubster. He's been talking about that one for a while. Last night we sat through The Plan (DVD). It was a lot of rehashed BSG footage sprinkled in with new bits. Catching a few glimpses of #2 was the only value to be had in it. Why, yes, I am just such a fan girl that I'd sit through it for that reason. Why do you ask? :P

So anyway, writing, kids...what's missing? Coffee! Cripes, I need another cup, and it's fifteen til 8. Gotta get the kidlet ready for school. Rush, rush, rush. I know, I bring it on myself. It's an illness.

Happy Tuesday, everyone. Hope your day is like rainbows!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Surfacing from the Void




Oh wow! I didn't realize the last time I'd posted was on Tuesday. This week has been a bit hectic, so I've kinda lost track. Last night I was in a school meeting for 2 hours, and only realized mid-way through the meeting that I'd been elected to the board to cover my son's district. Heck, no one told me I'd been nominated, or that it was part of the current position - whichever it is supposed to be. At any rate, that's one more responsibility I hadn't counted on.

Tomorrow I'm hitching a ride with Jamie to the NOLA Stars meeting (RWA) in Shreveport-Bossier. I'm looking forward to it. Mini is spending the weekend with his grandparents, so that means when I get back home that evening, all I have to do is drive Oldest to the homecoming dance. If I can get my crit partner online around that time, maybe we can do a timed writing or two.

So far today I've written 2300 words on my NaNo project. That puts me over 25,000. Woot! So I'm past the half way point. I think that's the closest to goal I've ever gotten when attempting NaNo. Very happy with that!

Oh, goodness. Diva Dog's puppies... I almost forgot. Such cute little nippers. I have a photo to share. :*) They're a week old now!


Happy Friday!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Scratches All Down My Back



So the doctor visit went fine yesterday. I have a huge bandage on my arm, but it looks fine. The doctor was mostly concerned about my blood pressure and my kidneys. They still want to do a complete thyroid work up on me, a lipid test, and a renal scan. I'm bummed about the renal scan. I cried a little on the way home about that. They could've said just about anything to me but that. I do not want any issues with my kidneys, so if you can spare a prayer...even one little one, pray that there are no kidney issues. Sort of like Elaine on Seinfeld, if you can spare a square - know what I mean? ;0)

I have to go back to the doctor tomorrow to do the blood work, and today I have to find some kind of insurance that will cover pre-existing conditions. The doctor I went to didn't mince any words about the cost. She told me that with my thyroid being screwed up, and my kidneys looking less than happy, insurance is going to be a must. She gave me the name of a company, and I'm going to call them this afternoon.

I'm still working on my NaNo project. It's over 20k, but I haven't compiled it all into one file so I can dump it into the verify box. Will do that asap. Five more thousand and I'll be at the half way point. Woot!

Oh, if you're looking for buddies on NaNo, add me! My username is lastdimtwilight. I don't visit the forums to chat, but I do check my buddy page daily to see how you're fairing and say Rah-Rahs to my screen. Really I do. Good writing mojo and all that.

That's about it for now. Hope you have a great Tuesday!



Monday, November 09, 2009

ZhuZhu Pets and Carina Press




It's been busy the past few days. I have crossed the 20k mark with my NaNo project, and I'm about to go hit on it again after I post here. I'm going in for surgery on my arm this afternoon - a small outpatient thing, no big deal really. If it comes out really gross or something, I'll take pictures to share. I promise. ;0)

Yesterday morning, DivaDog was sitting up in her doggy bed looking less than comfortable. She'd hop out, do a circle, go look in the big laundry bucket in the utility room, then go back to her bed. I was pretty sure she was looking for a place to have her pups. I left her alone, and kept the back door open. She was gone for a little while, so I went to peek in the laundry room and there she was in the clothes basket, having her puppies. She had one out already, and was birthing another. I petted her head, told her she was a good girl, then closed the door and left her be. This way Kinz and Mini didn't realize what was going on. That would have been high, HIGH drama she didn't need.

Well, there are now 5 puppies in the house. 3 boys and 2 girls - I think. I'll have to go flip up all the skirts in a bit and make sure. They're all spotted. Two are white and brown, the other three are black and white. So cute. Of course, they will all have to go to new homes, and Miss Diva MUST be spayed.

I didn't breathe a word of it to Mini, worried that he would mess with her and the puppies in there. But last night, he went to let Kinz out into the dog yard, and raced back into the dining. It was so cute, he had his hands together, and he was positively glowing with excitement. "Mimi, Fifi has PUPPIES!"

Speaking of Mini, He finally got a ZhuZhu Pet - you know, the fake hamsters that are the evil squeaking spawn of Satan?

I went grocery shopping yesterday and he wanted a Hot Wheels car, so before trying to shop for food, I took him to the toy department. Lo and behold, there are ZhuZhu pets. $8.00 for a rat with wheels. You poke the nose and it makes all this high pitched noise. Yes, it really is annoying like that. There's also a spot on it's back that makes the evil weasel chatter too.

The first time Mini clicked a nose, he jumped and covered his ears. I can't imagine why he wanted it, other than cute factor - oh, and seeing the commercials running endlessly on TV. The kid went bonkers trying to decide what color pet to get. There were only about 7 of them on the shelves: gold, gray, light brown, and 3 that were solid white.

Anyway, he got Chunk, one of the solid white ones. I tried to talk him into getting the gray one, named Nom Noms, but he wasn't having it. I was thinking in a week the damn thing is gonna be gray from playing with it anyway. Of course, child logic doesn't work in that way, so we came home with a white hamster to ride through the landscape of dog hair dust bunnies in our living room. And yes, Martha Stewart, I do sweep my effing house. I have no idea where so many dog hair dust bunnies come from, although, I do suspect the shoe gnomes are involved. But I digress...

The ZhuZhu Pet is sitting in a fleece lined, lime green ZhuZhu Pet bed on my dining table. Mini feared it would be lonely while was at school today, so I promised to talk to it while he was gone. Don't ask, and I won't try to explain.

So that's what's going on here. My surgery is scheduled for 2:15, which means I have to get there at 2 to fill out papers, and wait probably until 4 before anyone actually comes into the room where they've parked me. But that's a blog post for another day.

Oh! One more thing. If you've not seen the news already, Harlequin has launched a digital only publishing venture called Carina Press, and editor Angela James will be at the helm.

That's all for now. Happy Monday, everyone! Now get to work. ~_^

Friday, November 06, 2009

Imitate Our Emotions



It's Friday! *dance, dance* I've had my days mixed up all week. Not really sure how that happened, unless it's the Nano-effect kicking in. You know, staying up until 2am to get in a few more words, or to plot another scene? Anyway, I'm at the 19k mark on my project and I'm determined to get another 2k in today. So far that's what I'm averaging. Lots of interruptions here during the week, so perhaps the weekend will produce a better run for me. Oh! If you're on NaNo and want to add me as a buddy, do an author search for lastdimtwilight. Who doesn't like adding new friends? ;0)

I better get on the writing trail. *whip, whip* I have errands to run this afternoon, and I'd like to get at least two scenes written today. If you're doing NaNo, or even if you're not, feel free to drop in here and let me know how you're doing. Maybe chatting over it will help get the words out. Happy weekend, everyone!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

NaNo Sandstorm




Okay, breaking out Darude is like breaking out the writing big guns. If Sandstorm can't make the words come faster, nothing will. That said, I'm over the 18k mark on my wip and I've finally found my groove. *glowsticks*

I'm about to hit another crunch zone, but I'm determined to do this. I'm going to get this book written this month, and spend the rest of my time through to February slogging through the product of blazing fast writing. I'm sure it will take much polishing and driving my crit partner slapnuts crazy with endless tweaks and revisions to make it pretty enough for my agent pitches coming up in March.

Oh, but about that crunch zone.... I'm going in Monday for minor outpatient surgery, so that's going to probably going to to knock a day off my writing, since I still have to drive Mini to and from school. Then on Thursday there's a quorum I must attend, and a parent's meet. The following Saturday, I have RWA in Shreveport. Just when I said I wasn't going to get busy again....

That's it for now. I'm going to try getting in another 1k before the man comes home for lunch. I hope you all have a snazzy day. ~_^

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Stumbling Along




It's around 9:30 am, and I'm taking a short writing break. I've tacked on 1k to my NaNo project, and I'm about to go for round two. I wrote an obscene amount of words yesterday using Dr. Wicked's Write Or Die lab for desktop.

BTW, if you don't have the desktop version of Write or Die yet, I highly recommend it. It is so incredibly easy to use. Not only that, it's a very small download, and when using the program you can save your work, set the time and word counts you're shooting for per session, and best of all it costs only $10 USD. [And if any FTC ass-biting knuckle draggers are reading this, no one paid me for that "endorsement".]

My goal today is to write 3k words, if I can keep going for that long. That will put me up to 18k. I'm crossing my fingers. I really need to shoot above the 50k mark, but for NaNo's sake, I'm not budging the finish line. I can look at that later. For now, I'm just trying to get my pacing right. At the start of the book there was such an issue getting the hero and heroine into the same room together. I can see right now, I'm probably going to have to shave a lot of words off the front once this thing is finished. Ah well, there are worse "book afflictions". ;0)

That's enough for now. I better get back to writing while the getting's good. Happy hump day everyone. Write, write, write!




Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Just a thought...

So I went to the store this morning and bought a copy of Battlestar Galactica The Plan, and the 1st season of True Blood on DVD.

BSG is for me, and True Blood is for the hubster. We may mix and match, however, I am not sure I have the patience to sit through an entire season of True Blood since I've read a couple of the Sookie books. Oh, and because Anna Paquin is in it. Cute girl, but definitely not my favorite actress.

I browsed around the movie section after picking up those two, and after looking at all the boring schlock filling the shelves, I've come to the conclusion that if Hell has a movie theater SpaceBalls, Romancing the Stone, Ishtar, and The Family Guy series is running on a never ending marathon spool down there - probably in widescreen. Help us all.

Monday, November 02, 2009

NaNoWriMo Madness




I can hardly believe it's November already! Where did the year go? August through October has been a flurry of non-stop obligations, and yet I still have so much left to do.

Yesterday was the first day of NaNoWriMo. I signed up on Halloween, and have pledged to dig my way through a rough draft. I've been so out of it lately, I need a kick in the pants to get me going again. At the end of the day, I logged in just over 1k words. Not too bad, but not great either. Lots of distractions yesterday, but then again I had a full house. On the bright side, I did manage to get some plot holes worked out, and it seems that finally, finally the ick cycle has been broken. Both kids are in school today, so if I can just stay off the phone this morning I'll be able to catch up. :0)

I've done NaNo quite a few times over the years, but I've never made it to 50k. I plan to break that tradition this year. Are you with me? No? Would you like to be? Add me as a buddy! My username is lastdimtwilight. Funny, I went to go log into my old account and it had been vaporized or something, so I just recreated it - old user name and everything. Now if I can just remember all the years of NaNo that I participated in and LOST I could set everything kinda back like it was. ~_^

That said, I really must get going on my project. I hope you all have a snazzy Monday!